Vice President Kamala Harris will tour a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing center and meet with migrants as she travels to El Paso on Friday to tackle the rising numbers of migrants.
Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Democrat whose El Paso district is a member and who will be traveling with Ms. Harris, said the trip will give the vice president “a very broad local perspective” and an idea of what happens when officials move away do not deal with the causes of migration.
“We failed to do that and the result is chaos and really bad management of the people on our country’s doorstep,” she said.
With Ms. Escobar, Ms. Harris travels with Senator Dick Durbin, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee who has been involved in previous attempts at bipartisan immigration reform. Ms. Harris also travels with Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security.
The vice president will visit the US Customs and Border Protection processing center in El Paso, where officials will brief her on the administration’s “efforts to combat cross-border crime,” Vice president spokeswoman Symone D. Sanders told Thursday evening Reporters. The vice president will also meet with migrants detained at the center as well as immigration advocates, and she will speak to reporters and answer questions, Ms. Sanders said.
The trip came together quickly after Ms. Harris was criticized on her last trip to Mexico City and Guatemala, where NBC’s Lester Holt grilled her about why she hadn’t visited the border. She responded by calling the visit a “grand gesture” and pointing out that she has not yet visited Europe either – responses that confused her critics and members of her own administration. Ms. Escobar said that shortly after the trip she reached out to Ms. Harris’s office to offer El Paso as a place to visit and that her request was “well received”. The trip was quickly organized.
In El Paso, Ms. Harris will visit a major port of entry and city that has intricate ties with former President Donald J. Trump, who will be traveling to the border with Texas Governor Greg Abbott days after Ms. Harris’ visit.
During Mr. Trump’s presidency, he described El Paso as “one of the most dangerous cities in our nation” and castigated it as overrun by immigrants and crime. In 2019, when 22 people were killed in a Walmart and the white suspect warned of a “Hispanic invasion,” Trump encountered protests while visiting the victims’ families.
On Wednesday, a group of House Republicans said they would join Mr. Abbott and Mr. Trump on their trip, a move to put more pressure on the Biden administration, which has been trying to get Mr. Trump’s “zero.” -Tolerance “to eliminate immigration At the same time, they warn migrants not to travel to the United States. The Biden administration has also been criticized for maintaining Title 42, a Trump-era rule that allows the US government to expel migrants, including asylum seekers, on public health grounds. The administration is working on its plans to phase out this rule.
Ms. Harris’s office denied that there was any policy behind her visit.
“This administration is not orienting itself towards criticism from the Republicans or the former President of the United States of America,” said Sanders, adding that the trip made sense for the schedule of the vice president and “our local partners.”
The number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border has reached a record high under the Biden administration, and officials have struggled to get them quickly out of cramped facilities and into the care of family members. An increase in single adult arrests – about 121,000 last month – has offset a slight decrease in the number of unaccompanied minors and families traveling north, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.
“Our vision is a fair, orderly and humane immigration system,” Rohini Kosoglu, the vice president’s domestic affairs adviser, told reporters. “We know we need to do more to rebuild, and the Vice President’s work is key to our success.”